In the last decade, we have witnessed growing religion-based hate speech online against groups that are seen as minorities or people who are politically, socially and culturally targeted. In religion-based hate speech, it isn’t only religions that are seen as minorities that are the target of hate speech, but also other identities that are seen as “violating” the values and norms of the religions that regard themselves as the majority. Many times that hate speech even results in violence and destruction.
But is religion-based hate speech a new phenomenon? No. It has been happening even before the internet came into existence. It has long trajectories through time, places and actors. It has been there, but at certain times it escalates.
In the current moment, governments and technology companies continue to fail to address hate speech and in fact profit politically and economically from the vitriol, violence and attention that it attracts. It is in this context that people, and especially women and LGBTIQ+ people, have themselves evolved responses and ways of hacking hate. This edition of GenderIT.org explores how we hack hate, through love, humour, compassion, fighting back, silence, and do so in a variety of forms: through podcasts, analysis, illustrations and so on.
In this edition
The internet is a space for dissent and democracy but there is no doubt that it has also given space and amplified religion-based hate speech against communities and people. In this editorial, Dhyta explores what is hate and what is hate speech, the failure and profit for the state and technology corporations to not address hate speech or to hold anybody accountable, and finally what people and communities themselves are doing about the hate speech and trauma they face, often on a daily basis.
We rise, we heal, we resist – Raiz Rizqy and Yulia Dwi Andriyanti
Indonesia has celebrated gender diversity even before the country's independence. This is indicated by the existence of five genders in the Bugis (South Sulawesi) tradition, namely: Makunrai (female), Oroane (male), Calabai (male with woman soul), Calalai (female with man soul) and Bissu. During the Old Order in Indonesia, some of these groups were targeted, and today there are still remnants of how people are denied freedom of expression around sexuality, and face hate and repression.
Misogyny as a commodity in digital spaces – Serene Lim
Violence has a way of manifesting itself across different platforms – SMS, Zoom, Telegram, Facebook, and the newly emerging platforms like Tik Tok and Clubhouse. The problem, therefore, lies not merely in the technology itself, but the underlying logic and profit model that propels the modus operandi of the algorithm, the content moderation policy and all other technologies deployed to run the digital ecosystem.
404 Love Error – Efi Sri Handayani and Eni Puji Utami
Despite a boom in dating apps geared towards the Muslim community, expectations of “morality” from Muslim women makes dating, and particularly online dating, a daunting experience. This comic strip explores how women are blamed for intimate partner violence while they also face a barrage of abuse, and adds a layer of religiosity to the discussion that sets strict moral grounds only for women.
Living under constant fear of being targeted with religious hate and hate speech is a shared experience of Sri Lanka’s Muslim community. In this podcast, journalist and researcher Sara Pathirana talks to Sheikh Arkam Nooramith, a Sri Lankan Islamic scholar, and Ms. Hafsah Muheed, an experienced professional working on gender-based violence and women’s health, about how the community deals with threats by focusing on the message of peace and love.
Hate speech in the Philippines – Foundation for Media Alternatives
Gender-based violence is prevalent in Philippines, and it is targeted towards young girls, women and LGBTIQ+ communities not just in public spaces by state leaders and known individuals, but also in more private online settings. Impunity in many cases has only enabled perpetrators to continue the violence. This set of comic strips highlights different kinds of gender-based hate speech in the Philippines, and emphasises collective efforts to fight back.
See the full edition at GenderIT.org.